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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/T23541/01
Title: The Influence of Particle Shape & Packing on Stress Distributions in Granular Media
Principal Investigator: Mullin, Professor T
Other Investigators:
Rotter, Professor JM Ooi, Professor JY
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 April 2005 Ends: 31 March 2008 Value (£): 129,585
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Particle Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Granular systems are of considerable current interest to both the Physics and Engineering communities because of their rich phenomenology and important applications. TM and JMR both have research interests in the field and approach the subject from different perspectives. TM is primarily interested in self organising patterns in segregation in horizontally vibrated mixtures and treats the outcomes in terms of the physics of phase transitions. By contrast, JMR is concerned with the engineering design of storage containers from which granular solids must flow in industrial processes. TM and JMR uncovered converging interests at the four month programme on 'Granular and Particle Laden Flows' being held at the Newton Institute where TM was the principal organiser and JMR was an invited participant. They have several areas of scientific overlap and wish to initiate a long term collaboration by focusing first on a specific problem which is both topical and has potential practical import. The proposed topic is the role of particle shape and packing structure on the distribution of forces in granular piles and storage containers, which is often referred to in physics as :he generic 'sandpile' problem, but is seen in engineering as the 'silo' problem. In sandpiles, observations show that a pressure minimum may form beneath the centre of a conical pile obtained by pouring from a 'point' source. There is little concensus between the many mathematical models of this apparently simple physical system and contradictory results are often claimed. Recent experimental observations suggest that stress chains are crucially important yet these are very often missing from models. Hence this is of fundamental importance since the models are used to predict phenomena in much more complicated situations. In silos, observations show that unsymmetrical patterns of pressure develop against the walls in apparently symmetrical conditions, that these are sensitive to the packing structure arising from the placement process, and that they are exaggerated or modified during granular flow from the silo. Current engineering design ignores these effects, leading to many structural failures, especially where loss of symmetry occurs.
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk